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Public Statements

Issues Facing this Congress

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. I join my colleague that just spoke on the vitality and the importance of STEM education. As a 12-year member of the Science Committee, I also had a sense of emotion as Discovery flew many times over this great democratic institution. That emotion compels me to continue to fight for a place for one of the shuttles in the hometown where it was born, the place where John F. Kennedy spoke at the Rice Hotel and inspired us to go into space, and that is Houston, Texas, NASA-Johnson. I look forward to that continued bipartisan effort to have an appropriate representation of the four shuttles back in Houston, where they belong.

I rise today as well to speak about a number of things. I believe it's important for my colleagues to sort of look at a series of issues. I support the Buffett Rule, not because I believe in any kind of class warfare. I celebrate capitalism and applaud Mr. Buffett and others. But it is a good way to raise revenue and bring down the deficit.

We, of course, will be dealing with a bill proposed by my Republican friends on the other side of the aisle. The only thing that they will do is enhance the pocket money of people who don't need it. There is an unfairness in the Tax Code. I would join in a bipartisan way to look at it. In making the Tax Code fair, I would hope that we would be able to bring down the deficit. But the bill that we will see, as I said, will increase the pocket change of millionaires. It will be a job killer. And, of course, it will cut the Medicare guarantees of those who have worked hard for their children and grandchildren. I cannot support legislation that isn't fair and balanced. I would plead to my colleagues to find the middle ground--a fair Tax Code, bringing down the deficit.

I would encourage them to look at H.R. 3710, an energy bill. I have practiced oil and gas law for 15 years. It addresses the question of the wetlands, it uses exploration dollars to bring down the deficit, and it allows expanded exploration in the gulf region, a process that has been vetted by many energy organizations, energy companies, and they believe that is a bipartisan approach. H.R. 3710 is ready for the combined work of all of us.

I also believe it's important to speak about the value of education in several ways. And I'm here today to join in H.R. 3826, proudly so, that stands with students who now carry the bulk of the debt in America--credit debt. These are students who are simply trying to, as my colleague just said, study science, technology, engineering, and math. In about 74 days, the interest rates on Stafford loans will triple to 6.8 percent. You may have borrowed at 2 percent, and here we are talking about it going up to 6.8 percent. I, with every fiber in my body, stand against that. I'm going to stand with the students and parents who have children in school. We can win this thing. We must have a legislative action to stop that stealing of money from our children, who are simply trying to be in the best colleges, the State colleges, and to be educated.

Parents, wake up. In 74 days, the interest rate on your children's loans is going up to 6.8 percent. Call our offices, get on our Web sites, and beg us to pass H.R. 3826 by my good friend Mr. Courtney from Connecticut. Please, I beg of you. And I will be there with you. From Texas Southern University to the University of Houston to Houston Baptist to the Houston Community College, we're going to work on this.

Let me also move very quickly, Mr. Speaker, to the fact that this is the fifth-year commemoration of the terrible killings at Texas Tech. This Congress has been charged with being fearful of dealing with gun legislation. Over the years, I have introduced the Child Gun Safety and Gun Access Prevention bill. I have, in fact, supported bills dealing with gun checks and to close gun loopholes at gun shows. I have supported bills to stop the proliferation of assault weapons. Not bills against the Second Amendment, but bills that would have stopped Mr. Zimmerman from recklessly walking around with a 9 millimeter, and he was only supposed to be the eyes and ears of his neighborhood.

Mr. Speaker, I join in a bipartisan manner, even to the extent of saying we must clean up the Secret Service--I support Mr. Sullivan--and even clean up the GSA, because Gilbane, which has received stimulus dollars from the GSA, has refused to be diverse. To the CEO of Gilbane, this Congressperson you need to call. You are an unfair company, and you're using Federal dollars from the GSA in an inappropriate way. No diverse workforce, and no small businesses.

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